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Thucydides and the Athenian Disaster in Egypt Author(s): H. D. Westlake Source: Classical Philology, Vol. 45, No. 4 (Oct.

, 1950), pp. 209-216 Published by: The University of Chicago Press Stable URL: . Accessed: 04/09/2013 15:11
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Volume XLV OCTOBER 1950 Number 4




subject of a fifth-century in- fleet at the beginning of the campaign

mentioned by the epitomator of the Persica (Pers. 32). Thucydides, on the other hand, merely states that the Athenians and their allies sailed up the Nile and were in control of the river when they captured most of Memphis and began their investment of the White Castle (i. 104. 2). It is true that he chooses to confine his narrative to the barest summary when dealing with the middle years of the Pentecontaetia and that the campaign in Egypt is not altogether relevant to the principal theme of his excursus, which is the growth of Athenian power.4 Nevertheless, the virtual omission of a major battle is not wholly explained by these considerations.5 Together with other deficiencies, which will be discussed below, it may well be due not to compression but to ignorance. It is remarkable that Thucydides nowhere states the total extent of the losses sustained in Egypt by the Athenians and their allies. His narrative, as it stands, seems to imply clearly enough that the enterprise cost, from first to last, considerably more than two hundred ships with the greater part of their crews. From shortly after his own time6 until the end of the nineteenth century every reader apparently accepted this implication with-

scription from Samos published in 1939 by W. Peek is a naval engagement between Greeks and Persians very probably belonging to the Athenian expedition to Egypt.' It cannot be said that the new evidence makes any substantial addition to our knowledge of the campaign, which remains as obscure as ever. It does, however, throw a little fresh light upon the merits of the literary authorities and suggests that some reassessment of their credibility and completeness is required. The two principal accounts of the expedition, the one by Thucydides in his sketch of the Pentecontaetia (i. 104 and 109-10) and the other by the epitomator of Ctesias' Persica (32-37), have little in common except their brevity.2 Ctesias evidently narrated this episode from the Persian point of view and derived his material from Persian sources, but he seems elsewhere to have drawn freely upon his own imagination,3 and there has been a tendency, on the whole well-justified, to prefer the account of Thucydides. On one important point, however, the version of Ctesias is now confirmed: the naval engagement to which the Samian inscription refers is almost certainly to be identified with the crushing defeat of the Persian


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nor with himself but with his sources. It may be that, because he had no information of any Athenian withdrawal, he mistakenly believed the entire fleet of two hundred ships to have remained in Egypt throughout the six years of the campaign and thus to have been involved in the final disaster. A fatal objection to the first of the two explanations mentioned above is that the meaning of the sentence in which Thucydides records the Athenian response to the appeal of Inaros, otl 4 (ETvxov yap e
Ki irpov or-parevo/ievoL vavcrwc baKOOaLs aVTr v

out hesitation, and such is the impression that his account would undoubtedly convey if studied in vacuo. Eduard Meyer seems to have been the first to feel misgivings when he suggested, somewhat tentatively, that part of the fleet may have been withdrawn after its initial successes.7 More recently, in consequence of the substantial progress made in reconstructing this period, several scholars have argued that losses in Egypt on a scale approximately equal to those of the Sicilian expedition cannot be fitted into the pattern of Athenian history in the middle of the fifth century. A disaster of such magnitude must have had most damaging repercussions, of which there is scarcely any trace,8 upon Athenian interests both in Greece and in the Delian Confederacy. The arguments whereby it has been shown that the Athenian losses can have amounted to only a fraction of the figure implied by Thueydides have been widely, though not unanimously, accepted,9 and will not be reconsidered here. If, however, the implication of Thucydides is rejected, it is necessary to explain its origin. On this question there have been two rival views. Some scholars believe readers of Thucydides to have been at fault in concluding that as many as two hundred Athenian and allied ships were sent to Egypt from Cyprus ;10 others believe Thucydides himself to have been at fault in omitting to mention, because his account of the Pentecontaetia is sketchy and incomplete, that a large proportion of the Athenian fleet was withdrawn from Egypt for service elsewhere.11 Both views involve the assumption that he possessed full information on the actions of the Athenians throughout the campaign and did not intend to create the impression that his narrative has created. This assumption is surely unwarranted. The error could, and perhaps does, lie neither with his readers

TCWV tv/taXcov)

71XOoV a-7rOXvlOVrEs n)v

Kvi7rpov(i. 104. 2), is ambiguous only

to those determined to find ambiguity. It undoubtedly means that all, or almost all, the two hundred ships operating off Cyprus were sent to Egypt.12 No moderately careful historian could have written the sentence in this form if the greater part of the fleet had remained off Cyprus. The alleged parallel of the later expedition to Cyprus under Cimon, 3 when only sixty ships from a fleet of two hundred were sent to help Amyrtaeus in Egypt (i. 112. 2-3), is not a true parallel. The Egyptian revolt had in 450 been reduced to a mere smoulder, and little advantage was likely to be gained by lending support to the rebels on a large scale. It is true that according to Ctesias the Athenian fleet assisting Inaros amounted to only forty ships (Pers. 32). This statement is a valuable piece of information, especially as the Persians are unlikely to have understated the strength of their opponents, and may well be correct for most of the period of six years during which the operations in Egypt continued.14 A fleet of forty, probably enjoying an advantage in seamanship, might well have defeated a Persian fleet of eighty, but the very heavy losses sustained by the Persians, amounting to twenty ships captured and

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thirty destroyed according to Ctesias, are more easily credited if they were inflicted by a fleet of nearly two hundred. Support for the view that a large proportion of the two hundred Athenian ships did not sail to Egypt has also been sought in the Erechtheid inscription with its record of Athenian casualties in Cyprus, Egypt, and Phoenicia in a single year.'5 It does not, however, point to this conclusion. The year in which these casualties occurred is not necessarily the first year of the Egyptian expedition,16 and those sustained in Cyprus and Phoenicia, whch may have been very few, do not necessarily imply operations involving a considerable number of ships. At all stages of the Egyptian campaign it was in the interest of the Athenians to divert Persian attention from the main theatre of war. Raids on the Phoenician coast, and perhapson Cyprus as well, may have been conducted by ships detached from the fleet in Egypt, and these ships may subsequently have sailed either back to Egypt or home to Athens. Many hypotheses suggest themselves, all equally conjectural. Nor does the new inscription from Samos, with its reference to a naval battle [M'E,]Otos a4O' /EpaT77-, indicate that the Athenian and allied fleet is more likely to have numbered about forty than two hundred. It is true that the Nile at Memphis is not sufficiently broad for a fleet of two hundred ships to have fought an action on conventional lines there."7 Topographical accuracy is not, however, to be expected in a dedicatory epigram of this kind, and the author evidently found difficulty in hammering his material into most uninspired verse. He could have written as he did if an Athenian fleet of two hundred defeated the Persians at the mouth of the Nile (Kara OaXauua', Pers. 32) and a section of it, including the Samian contingent, had pursued the fugitives upstream as far as

Memphis,"8where the prizes to which he refers were secured, perhaps in cooperation with land forces under Inaros.19 The narrative of Thucydides is very differently, and somewhat more convincingly, interpreted by those who maintain that, while the Athenians sent to Egypt the whole fleet of two hundred operating off Cyprus, they withdrew some threequarters of it not long after the victory mentioned by Ctesias, which gave them the undisputed control of the Nile mentioned by Thucydides.'0 Large naval forces could not hasten the reduction of the White Castle; they could be, and evidently were, employed to much better effect in home waters. Hence it is maintained that the squadron retained in Egypt and eventually blockaded at the island of Prosopitis amounted to not more than about forty ships, the figure given by Ctesias. This reconstruction of events, though by no means complete or beyond doubt, is more consistent than the other with what is known of Athenian military history in this period."1It also receives a little additional support from a reference in Justin, who records that, while the resources of the Athenians were weakened by the despatch of a fleet to Egypt, they suffered a naval defeat at home," but interiecto deinde tempore post reditum suorum aucti et classe et militum roboreproelium reparant (iii. 6. 6-7). Although the chapter in which this passage occurs bristles with the grossest blunders, Justin may have preserved an authentic point of some importance." The failure of Thucydides to refer to the reduction of the Athenian fleet in either section of his narrative on the Egyptian expedition, or at some point between them, is attributed by advocates of this reconstruction to his extreme brevity in dealing with the middle years of the Pentecontaetia. They point to other omissions of greater or less

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H. D.


the first Athenian intervention in Sicily, conducted initially by twenty ships, later by sixty, and lasting 'AO-rvaZot Kal ol Ai-y WrTco C about three years, did not impress him ,vguaxot TV1 ErE,EVOV (i. 109. 1). It is difficult to recongreatly (iii. 90. 1). His insistence on the cile his use of this phrase with the assump- magnitude of the disaster in Egypt is tion that he was aware of the Athenian striking: he uses terms closely parallel to withdrawal but omitted to mention it. He those with which he ends his account of would scarcely have stated so categorical- the great Sicilian expedition (cf. i. 110. 1, Ta TWv'EXX?vwv lrpa-y/IaTa E4Oap-7 ly that the Athenians stayed on if he had ouTW LuEV ET ErOE /roXey.?vcaavTa KaL o6XtyoL 6aro 7roXX(-? known that most of them withdrew. If, as es Kvp iv7jv is possible, the withdrawal took place be- lropEvouIEVOL &aTa i7s Atv1s with vii. OflcTctv, oL 6' rXEL(rTTL aIrcoXovro fore the last event mentioned in the first section of his account, namely the invest- 87. 6, KaL oX&yOL aIro 7roXXwv Elr' o0'KOV ment of the White Castle (i. 104. 2), he a4revaSTCvaav) *26 A campaign conducted would surely have written "those of the throughout most of its course by a fleet of Athenians and their allies left in Egypt" some forty ships was considerable, and a disaster involving the whole of this fleet or "not withdrawn from Egypt."24 Confirmation of the view that he had with most of the crews and also part of a no knowledge of an Athenian withdrawal further squadron was serious enough, but may be found in the language and ar- it may be doubted whether ei-ther would rangement of the chapter in which he de- have evoked from Thucydides this abscribes the end of the eampaign (i. 110). normal emphasis in a largely irrelevant In contrast to his usual practice of un- section of a highly compressed excursus. of material in describing derstatement, he lays great emphasis both His arrangenment upon the magnitude of the expedition the fate of the Athenians is equally sigand the magnitude of the disaster. His nificant. The sentence quoted above in closing words are ra ,i v Kara Tr7v ,EyaXrv which he stresses their losses (i. 110. 1) is Kat rwZv(vy a'Xwv es the climax of the drama. Yet it does not o-rparecuav 'AOrva'Lcv Alyvwrrovovrwxs reXevr-lo-Ev (i. 110. 4). It occur at the end of the whole tragedy but o-rpareLa after the debacle at Prosopitis, which is happens that the phrase Aie-ya'Xq occurs nowhere else in his work, and his evidently the most important episode. To use of it here is thle more striking in that it are appended notes on two subsidiary he tends to depreciate the scale of naval episodes, the fate of the Egyptian rebels expeditions anterior to the Peloponnesian and their leader Inaros (ibid., 2-3) and War.25In recording the operations at the the fate of an Athenian squadron, amountEurymedon (i. 100. 1), off Cyprus in 450 ing to fifty ships, which arriving in the (i. 112. 2-4) and against Samos (i. 115- mouth of the Nile after the fall of Proso17), all involving the employment of two pitis was surprised by the enemy and lost hundred ships by the Athenians, he does a large proportion of its strength (ibid., 4). not use similar language, though ad- The arrangement of this chapter may mittedly these were enterprises of much have been influenced by Greek dramatic shorter duration than the expedition to practice, but it surely suggests that the Egypt. In the Peloponnesian War itself losses sustained by the squadron of fifty,

importance, and it is undeniable that he could have been guilty of such an oversight here. On the other hand, there is no demonstrable hiatus in his account or between its two sections; indeed, he begins his second section with the words oL 8' Ev

the expedition of Sitalces with his huge army is not described as great (ii. 101. 6,


while EyEvETo),

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which perhaps amounted to some thirtyfive ships with their crews,27were far less serious than those of the fleet destroyed at Prosopitis. If Thucydides had believed the latter to have consisted of only about forty ships, some of the crews escaping to Cyrene, he would have arranged his narrative differently, for the two defeats would have seemed to him at least comparable in their cost to Athens. Some information provided by Ctesias perhaps explains how Thucydides came to overestimate the extent of the disaster. The epitomator states that more than six thousand Athenians surrendered to the Persians (Pers. 34), a figure consistent with his earlier statement that the Athenian fleet amounted to forty ships.28 He adds that Megabyzus undertook to allow these men to return home unharmed.29 Diodorus also refers to this surrender (xi. 77. 4-5); evidently Ephorus, reading Thucydides and Ctesias together, concluded that all the survivors from the two hundred ships originally sent to Egypt were permitted by agreement with the Persians to reach Cyrene in safety.30 There is every reason to accept the surrender as authentic: it is difficult to understand why the Persians should have invented it. Their chief aim was to rid themselves of the Athenians in order that they might complete the suppression of the revolt. They probably had no wish to provoke reprisals, and their action may mark a first step towards the Peace of Callias. There is also every reason to believe that Thucydides was ignorant of the surrender, which was far from creditable in that the survivors had bought their safety at the price of abandoning Egypt and may even have been repudiated. Despite the compression of his narrative he could scarcely have failed to mention this vital point if he had been aware of it."' On the other hand, he could well have known the number of those repatriated by way of Cyrene,

namely six thousand, and omitted it as a detail of subsidiary importance. This knowledge, combined with ignorance that the Athenian fleet had long before been reduced from two hundred to about forty, would lead him to infer a loss of more than thirty thousand men and thus to write
w. . . .E. E.TcG?7oTav, oL 5e 6Xlyot aIro iro&XXc rxetarO0 a&rwXovro(i. 110. 1).

The sentence in which Thucydides records the arrival of the fifty Athenian ships in the Nile after the fall of Prosopitis raises a further difficulty and probably contains another error (i. 110. 4,


'A677C)VKacL rns 'aXX-s ('Sos

3LaWoXoL Ir?4ovuaT es

?rEvTrfKOY Tarpolpas

r6 MEVCJTLOv Kepas, KarMm TcOXOP A'LYV7rrov OVK lo36rTEs Tr$V -yeSyoPOrTW o&ve). There is no doubt that &A'SoXoLmeans "relief" or

"substitute" and not "reinforcement."32

In the fifth and fourth centuries &63Aoxos and &La6oxI seem to have invariably con-

tained the idea of taking over some function, or more rarely of inheriting some property, from another; they imply succession, not assistance and cooperation.33 Thucydides thus means that the squadron of fifty ships was sent to replace part of, possibly all, the fleet operating in Egypt, which was to have then sailed home.34 It is, however, difficult to believe that the Ecclesia can have voted such a replacement at this stage. The blockade of Prosopitis lasted eighteen months (i. 109. 4), and when the squadron of fifty was despatched, the Athenians must either have known that their troops had been defeated and were being invested or, having received no news for more than a year, have felt serious anxiety for their safety. Their decision was surely the outcome of bad news or no news, very probably the former.35 In either case the situation clearly demanded that the fleet should be extricated from its present dangers,36 known or suspected, and not that any part of it should be replaced, an

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H. D.


of potential informants and increased the risk of distortion on their part. The question when and where he wrote the sketch of the Pentecontaetia is a particularly controversial part of a controversial issue, which lies outside the scope of this paper.38If, however, as was once generally agreed and is still believed by many scholars, he added it after his return from exile, very few survivors of the Egyptian expedition can have then been alive. If, as has been recently maintained and As has been suggested in the foregoing seems very probable, he wrote it not long pages, there is reason to believe that on no after 424, while he was absent from less than four points of substance Thucyd- Athens,39he can hardly have had the opides' account of the Athenian expedition portunity of consulting Athenian sources, to Egypt is defective. He was probably oral or documentary. He could have reignorant of the naval victory won at the vised it after his return, but there is good outset, ignorant of the subsequent with- reason for believing that it never received drawal involving a substantial reduction a thorough revision. Yet his greatest of the Athenian fleet, ignorant of the sur- handicap perhaps was that he was here render by the survivors of the blockade without the immense advantage, which at Prosopitis and misinformed on the sail- he mentions among his principal qualificaing orders Issued to the squadron of fifty tions for writing on the Peloponnesian sent out at the end of the campaign. The War, of having lived through the period I40 deficiency of his information is not at all ataavs CEvoS'rp 7X4Kd^ Thucydides was probably not more surprising if his difficulties in collecting material on this period are fully appreci- than about six years old when the news of ated. They were probably at least as the disaster in Egypt reached Athens. great as those of Herodotus in collecting The consternation with which it was rematerial on the invasion of Xerxes. To ob- ceived may have been among his earliest tain accurate information on the Pelo- recollections, doubtless making a deep ponnesian War was, as he points out, a impression upon him at a time when he laborious task because eyewitnesses were was far too young to 4ssess its true siguntrustworthy (i. 22. 3); to reconstruct ra nificance for himself. There is also good iraXata with any certainty was almost im- reason to believe that he was related to possible (i. 1. 3 and 20. 1).37 The Pente- the Philaidae,41 and he is likely to have contaetia occupies an intermediate stage been brought up in a family circle where to which he does not happen to refer in his the seriousness of the Athenian losses was introduction, though he does remark later overrated because the expedition had been that it was a neglected period (i. 97. 2). undertaken and conducted by the poBoth in quantity and in quality the avail- litical opponents of Cimon.42Hence a misable material must have been even less taken preconception may have been adequate than for the events of the Pelo- added to the probable inadequacy of his ponnesian War: to a much greater extent information. the passage of time had thinned the ranks UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER

operation likely to be hazardous and unlikely to be profitable. During the siege of the White Castle reliefs may perhaps have been sent to replace ships no longer fit for active service. In the critical period after the victory of Megabyzus, just as in the Sicilian campaign after the Syracusans had gained the initiative, only assistance and reinforcement can have been contemplated. Here again Thucydides seems to have been misled by faulty information.

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NOTES known that when Megabyzus invaded Egypt the 1. Peek, Klio, XXXII (1939), 289-306. The restoration [Me]ALos&XA'ipaTis in the second line is conAthenian fleet consisted of 40 ships under Charitimides and have mistakenly assumed that the same fleet vincing. The article is not easily obtainable in this under the same commander defeated the Persians at country, and it is only through the kindness of Prothe beginning of the campaign. fessor F. E. Adcock that I have been able to see a copy. I am also indebted to him for having read a flrst 15. J.G., 12, 929, 1-4. draft of this paper and for having made valuable criti16. Gomme, op. cit., I, 311 and 412, n. 2; Meiggs, cisms and suggestions. op. cit., p. 29, n. 42. 2. The longer account by Diodorus (xi. 74-75 and 17. Peek, op. cit., p. 301. 77. 1-5) is founded upon an attempt by Ephorus to 18. It is by no means impossible that the entire reconcile the accounts of Thucydides and Ctesias fleet may have sailed as far as Memphis (cf. Thuc. i. (Meyer, G. d. A., IV2, 1, 552, n. 3; Beloch, Gr. Gesch., 104. 2). The Persian fleet of Megabyzus, said to have II2, 1, 173, n. 1). It has a little independent authority numbered 300 (Pers. 33; Diod. xi. 77. 1), apparently because Ephorus must have read the Persica undid, and Persian fleets sent to operate in Egypt in the abridged; he was, however, far too eager to defend fourth century were very large (Diod. xv. 41. 3, cf. 43. Athenian honour at all costs. 1 where Iphicrates planned to sail up the Nile to at3. Antiquity considered Ctesias to be thoroughly tack Memphis; xvi, 40. 6). untrustworthy (cf. Plut. Artax. 1. 4), but the Photian 19. Peek, op. cit., p. 299, argues that Inaros, whose epitome probably does him less than justice. participation in the battle is implied by Ctesias (Pers. 4. Momigliano, Aegyptus, X (1929), 191. 32), would not have proceeded northwards leaving the 5. A much less serious omission by Thucydides is enemy in the rear. But Inaros apparently had no the victory of Inaros at Papremis. It is mentioned by ships, and Ctesias surely means only that the naval Herodotus (iii. 12. 4, cf. vii. 7) and was probably battle resulted in a victory for the rebel cause, of known to Thucydides, who must have chosen to omit which Inaros was the leader, and not necessarily that it because it took place before the arrival of the Athehe was present. It was natural that he should remain nian fleet (Diod. xi. 74. 3 is palpably mistaken on this in the neighbourhood of Memphis and equally natural point). that the Persians should send their fleet downstream 6. Cf. Isocr. viii. 86 (the whole of this passage seems to prevent the Athenians from establishing contact to be founded upon a casual study of Thucydides). with him. 7. Op. cit., IV2, 1, 570, n. 1 (III. 606 in the flrst edi20. The suggestion of Meyer, loc. cit., that some of tion). Busolt, Gr. Ge8ch., III, 1, 331, n. 3, had rather the fleet was withdrawn has been developed by Adearlier mentioned the possibility of such a reduction cock, op. cit., p. 4, Wallace, op. cit., p. 257 and Gomme, but concluded that it must have been almost negliop. cit., p. 322. gible. 21. For example, Wallace, op. cit., p. 259, points 8. Meiggs, JHS, LXIII (1943), 21-34, flnds eviout that the Athenians had to use the "oldest and dence of disaffection, especially in Ionia, in the years youngest" to defend the Megarid in 458 (Thuc. i. preceding 450. Some of this unrest may, as he suggests, 105. 3-4) and yet could muster a large army for the have been encouraged by the disaster in Egypt; it battle of Tanagra in the following year (i. 107. 5). does not, however, appear to have been very serious 22. Apparently the Corinthian victory at Halieis or widespread. (Thuc. L. 105. 1). 9. Cary, CQ, VII (1913), 198-201; Adcock, Proc. 23. Trogus (Prol. iii) in the book here epitomised Camb. Phil. Soc., 1926, 3-5; Wallace, TAPA, LXVII by Justin appare,ntly gave an account of the Egyptian (1936), 252-60. Cloch6, L'antiquite classique, XI revolt recorded from the Persian point of view and (1942), 219, n. 1, who himself expresses a cautious acperhaps derived from the unabridged Persica of ceptance of this view (ibid., p. 220), points out that a Ctesias. few have rejected it; others appear to have ignored it. 24. As his text stands, ol f' Tn Al-ybTTrO 'AOqva7ot 10. Cary, loc. cit., followed by Peek, op. cit., p. Kal ol Z&A#aXoL in i. 109. 1 are surely identical with 301-2. those whose achievements are described in i. 104. 2. 11. Adcock, op. cit., 4-5; Gomme, Historical Com25. Of the expedition against Troy he expresses mentary on Thucydides, I, p. 322, "the general sketchithe opinion Tjv oTpaT7eav ness of the Pentakontaetia must account for it" (cf. &KEIV17V JAeYtffTI7,V A.yvEor6at T&v irp6 avTis, XetroJt.Lviv Of T&v v0v (i. 10. 3). his long list of omissions, op. cit., I, 365-69). 12. Adcock, op. cit., p. 3. Ephorus (Diod. xi. 74. 3, 26. Pearson, TAPA, LXXVIII (1947), 48, n. 24, cf. 71. 5 and xiii. 25. 2) and Aristodemus (F. 11. 3-4, draws attention to the similarity of the language used in these two passages. Cf. also iii. 112. 8, 6Xotyot Jacoby) interpreted this passage as meaning that the &irb whole fleet operating off Cyprus sailed to Egypt. wroXX@v lorWav (the Ambraciot disaster at Idomene). 13. Cary, op. cit., p. 199. 27. L. 110. 4. Both ancient and modern scholars 14. The Athenian commander was an otherwise have magnifled the losses of this squadron, cf. Schol. unknown Charitimides (Pers. 32); he was still in comad loc. and Wallace, op. cit., p. 258, "a relieving squadmand some four years later when Megabyzus deron . . . was almost wiped out." Thucydides does feated the Athenians and Egyptians (ibid., 33). It was not imply that much more than half the squadron was unusual for the Athenians to renew a command several lost. times unless the holder were a well-known flgure. In 28. Cary, op. cit., pp. 199-200. Busolt, loc. cit., asthis case the fleet was operating far from home, but sumes that this figure includes Athenian citizens only, communications with Athens must have remained but surely the Persians, from whom Ctesias derived uninterrupted throughout the siege of the White his material, would have drawn no distinction between Castle. Henoe Ctesias or his epitomator may well have citizens and non-citizens.

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H. D.

one of the three major branches; their purpose may have been to evade the Persian fleet and reach Prosopitis without being intercepted, but the Persians learned of their approach, possibly from a captured despatch, in time to concentrate large forces against them. 36. It is difficult to understand why Cloche,
Revue belge de philologie et d'histoire, XXV (1946-47),

29. His story that the Athenian prisoners were taken with Inaros to the Persian court where 50 of them were executed (Pers. 35-36), if it has any foundation, probably refers to men from the squadron surprised in the Nile. They would not be protected by the local agreement made with Megabyzus by the commanders of the other Athenian fleet. 30. The mention of this surrender by Diodorus is surely fatal to the view of Momigliano, op. cit., 199205, that Ephorus did not use the Persica. 31. Although he does not expressly deny that any Athenians surrendered, it is difficult to understand the view of Busolt, op. cit., III, 1, 331, n. 1, that a surrender is not incompatible with his account. 32. Adcock, op. cit., p. 4; Peek, op. cit., p. 302. 33. The other passages of Thucydides in which &&Aoxos (iii. 115. 2; vii. 15. 1; viii. 85. 1) and ota5oxii (ii. 36. 1; iv. 8. 9; vii. 27. 3 and 28. 2) occur all point to this interpretation. There are many similar examples in fourth-century prose. Isaeus vii. 14 and Isocr. xix. 43 illustrate the legal sense. 34. According to Adcock, loc. cit. (cf. Peek, loc. cit.) &tA&oXot wrXkovuar iS A&-yv7-Tov contains a hint that the Athenian fleet in Egypt at this time amounted to only about 50 ships, the relieving force of 50 being sent to replace a force of approximately equal size. Very probably the fleet in Egypt did not exceed this figure at the end of the campaign, but the words used here by Thucydides surely admit of two other interpretations. He could mean (and whether he was right or not is immaterial) either that the relieving force of 50 was sent to replace part of a fleet of 200 or that the relieving force of 50 was sent to replace the whole of a fleet of 200 (i.e., a substantial reduction was intended). in the singular only, but Elsewhere he uses 5&&Aoxos approximate equality of function appears to be a much stronger ingredient in this word than approximate equality of numbers. For example, the plural occurs twice in a passage where Herodotus (ix. 21. 2-3) describes how at Plataea an Athenian force of 300 relieved a Megarian force of 3,000 (ibid., 28. 6); although his account is not above suspicion, what matters is that he can use btAboxot despite the disparity of numbers. In the legal sense Isocrates (xix. 43) uses bta5Xovs Tis KxX7povoAlias where several persons are to succeed to the estate of one man. 35. With most of Egypt iIn sympathy with the Athenians single messengers can have had little difficulty in evading the Persians. Even the large forces of Megabyzus can scarcely have maintained a complete blockade of Prosopitis (Mallet, Les rapports des

67, believes that the blockade was considered at Athens to be "sans peril grave." Even though the information available to the Athenians may have been incomplete, it must have been obvious that their troops, surrounded by superior forces at a point many miles from the open sea, were in a very dangerous situation. The complacency ascribed to the Athenian commanders by De Sanctis, Pericle 122, is hardly credible unless the statement of Thucydides that their forces were blockaded and besieged, i. 109. 4, is dismissed as false or grossly exaggerated; even if they felt confldent of being able to evade the Persian land forces whenever they chose, the likelihood of an encounter with the Phoenician fleet mentioned by Thucydides, i. 110. 4, could not be ignored. 37. In both these passages he appears to refer to all Greek history before the Peloponnesian War, but scholars have doubted with good reason whether he intends to include the Pentecontaetia in either case, and the text of the first passage may be defective (Gomme, op. cit., I, 91-92 and 135-36). 38. Almost all problems connected with the work of Thucydides are in some degree affected by the major problem of its origin and growth (Romilly,
Thucydide et l'imperialisme ath6nien, p. 10).

39. Gomme, op. cit., I, 362-63, cf. Hammond, CQ, XXXIV (1940), 146-52. This view is, in my opinion, much more convincing than that of Ziegler, Rh. Mus., LXXVIII (1929), 58-67, who dates the sketch of the Pentecontaetia, with other excursuses, very early (cf. the very brief summary in Proc. Camb. Phil. Soc., 1912, 9, of a paper by Harrison). This early dating of the excursuses, which has not been widely accepted (Gomme, op. cit., I, 154, n. 1; Schmid,
Gesch. d. griech. Literatur, I, 5, 149, n. 3), requires

Grecs avec lE'gypte, pp. 38-39). The island was of considerable extent (Hdt. ii. 41. 5), and the Athenians could hardly have continued their resistance so long unless they had been able to replenish their stocks of food. The ignorance that caused the squadron of 50 to be surprised by the enemy (OVK et56Tes Trav -7yOP6Trw ob5VO)was surely not of the blockade at Prosopitis but of the final disaster there. Thucydides deems worthy of mention the fact that its commanders chose the Mendesian arm of the Nile, which was not

more detailed exposition than it has received. Each excursus surely presents a separate problem. It is much easier to accept an early date for the account of Pausanias and Themistocles (i. 128-38) than for the sketch of the Pentecontaetia; and these two excursuses, which overlap one another considerably, can scarcely have been originally intended by Thucydides, as Ziegler apparently believes, to form part of the same general history of the past. 40. v. 26. 5. One reason why he describes the Samian revolt at greater length than earlier episodes of no less importance may be that he was probably passing from boyhood to manhood when it occurred. 41. Finley, Thucydides, pp. 9-10 and 29. 42. The attitude of Pericles towards the expedition is unknown, and there is no indication whether Thucydides approved of his policy before 445 (cf. ii. 65. 5).

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